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Sassa Hanover wins Jugette; JK She'salady retired

September 23, 2015
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Sassa Hanover and driver Matt Kakaley went to the lead and never looked back, winning Wednesday’s (Sept. 23) $252,250 Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers by two lengths over stablemate Southwind Roulette in 1:51.1 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.
 
Last fall driver Yannick Gingras chose to drive Sassa Hanover over JK She'salady in the Breeders Crown and proclaimed her the best filly of the division. JK She'salady went on to win Horse of the Year honors, but this season the two fillies have not been rivals. On Jugette Day, trainer Nancy Johansson announced that JK She'salady, who had suffered from a deep lung infection and just last week qualified after a long layoff, was being retired from racing.
 
Sassa Hanover's wins last year included the Matron Stakes and divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes.

The Jugette proved to be the biggest victories of the year for Sassa Hanover, who was driven by Matt Kakaley. The Ron Burke-trained Sassa Hanover won her Jugette elimination in 1:50.4 --- just one-fifth of a second off Shelliscape’s stakes and track record --- and her combined time of 3:42 established a two-heat world record for 3-year-old female pacers. I Luv The Nitelife held the prior mark of 3:42.2, set in 2013.
 
Sassa Hanover’s wins last year included the Matron Stakes and divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion stakes.

"Yes that second trip was definitely a whole lot different than the first," said Kakaley. "She felt just as good if not better than in the first heat. I thought Corey (Callahan) might go ahead (with Southwind Roulette) but I really wanted to with her (Sassa Hanover) because she felt so strong.
 
Bettor N Better got the best of the field in the first of two $50,450 eliminations for the Jugette, using a first-over move following the halfway point to win in 1:51.1. Southwind Roulette was second, followed by Moremercy Bluechip and Wicked Little Minx to advance to the $151,350 final later this afternoon.

Favorite Mosquito Blue Chip went offstride soon after the start as Triple V Hanover took the lead from post one in a :26.4 first quarter-mile. After reaching the half in :55, driver Yannick Gingras began his move from third place with Bettor N Better and Moremercy Bluechip followed their cover.

Triple V Hanover still was on top at three-quarters, in 1:22.4, but Bettor N Better would soon take the lead and pull away from her foes on the final turn.

It was the third win of the year in 12 starts for Bettor N Better (Bettor's Delight-Vanite Semalu). She is owned by Our Horse Cents Stables and Blue Chip Bloodstock and trained by Ron Burke.

"She is a very relaxed and handy filly," said Mickey Burke Jr. of the Burke Stable. "You can do anything you want with her. She will sit in the hole, come first over. It is whatever you ask her to do. I definitely think that helps her in a race like this where there are heats. You always want them to be nice and relaxed. The last thing you want is for them to fight you or not want to sit in a hole. She fits well here based on personality."

Sassa Hanover came from the rear of the field to be first at the wire and claim the second of two $50,450 eliminations, stopping the timer in a stakes- and track-record-equaling 1:50.4.

Somewhere Sweet finished second, with Bedroomconfessions third and Serious Filly fourth to join Bettor N Better, Southwind Roulette, Moremercy Bluechip and Wicked Little Minx in the $151,350 Jugette final.
 
Sassa Hanover's victory coupled with Bettor N Better's triumph in the opening division gave trainer Ron Burke a sweep of the eliminations.

Momas Got A Gun got the early lead in the second elimination and led the field to the first quarter in :26.3 and half in :55.1. Bedroomconfessions made a first-over move from fourth place to claim the lead heading up the backstretch and took the group to three-quarters in 1:22.4.

Sassa Hanover was in fourth place at that point, but powered to the front to post her fifth win in 14 races this year.

Matt Kakaley drove Sassa Hanover (Rock N Roll Heaven-Sayo Hanover) for Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, The Panhellenic Stable Corp., the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and Larry Karr.

"I think I've only driven her twice," said Kakaley. "Once was on Hambo Day (in the Shady Daisy) when she was absolutely excellent and loaded with pace. But I got locked in and had nowhere to go.

"She felt awesome again today and I don't think the time will take anything out of her because Ron always has them ready to go. With this horse I don't think a half-mile or any other size track makes a difference because she is so good.

"I didn't want to abuse her if she did not want to get right on the gate. I just let her settle in there. It is tough to win from third over here at Delaware but when Timmy came over and then things broke down on the lead it was exactly what I was hoping for. It couldn't have worked out any better."

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